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aardvark a large mammal with a long snout, long ears, a long tail, and almost no hair. Aardvarks are active at night, when they use their powerful claws to dig open ant or termite nests. They catch their food with long, sticky tongues. Aardvarks live in southern and central Africa. Although they are sometimes called anteaters, aardvarks are not closely related to any other kind of mammal.
abacus a device used for counting or calculating. An abacus has beads or other counters that slide along rods or in grooves.
absentee a person who is absent from work, school, or other duty.
absent-minded tending to not pay attention to a task or event because one is thinking about other things.
ace a serve in tennis that wins a point because the other player can not reach the ball. [1/5 definitions]
across from one side to the other of. [4/5 definitions]
acrylic a kind of plastic used to make yarns, paint, and many other things.
act a short performance by a musician, comedian, or other entertainer. [1/9 definitions]
adverb a word that describes or modifies a verb, adjective, or other adverb. Adverbs are also used to modify a whole sentence.
agency a company or organization that does business in support of other companies or people. [1/3 definitions]
ah a word used to express surprise, joy, pain, understanding, dislike, and other feelings.
AIDS a disease caused by a virus that stops the body from being able to protect itself from other diseases, usually leading to death. AIDS stands for acquired immune deficiency syndrome.
air the mixture of gases that surrounds the earth. Air is made up of oxygen, nitrogen, and other gases, and has no taste, odor, or color. [1/6 definitions]
alien a living being from another planet; extraterrestrial. There is no evidence that aliens exist, but many people believe there is life on other planets. [2/5 definitions]
alimony money that a court orders one member of a divorced couple to pay to the other.
alligator a large reptile with short legs, a long body and tail, and a long, wide snout. Alligators are protected by thick skin with many hard bumps. They live in rivers, lakes, swamps, and other bodies of water in the southeast United States and in China. They usually eat insects, fish, turtles, snakes, birds, and other water animals, but have been known to attack small land mammals. They are closely related to crocodiles. Chinese alligators are endangered because their habitat is being changed by people.
almanac a book published every year that predicts the weather for each day and gives facts about the tides, the time the sun will rise and set, and other useful information. [1/2 definitions]
aloof showing little interest in or desire to be involved with other people; distant.
alternate following each other in turns, first one then the other. [2/7 definitions]
amend to change or add to a law, contract, or other document.
amendment an official change made to a bill, law, or other document.